Marquette rolls after fast start
Golden Eagles coach Buzz Williams thinks the free-styling play will help his team at the end of the season.
Jae Crowder had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Darius Johnson-Odom added 24 points and No. 21 Marquette had little trouble beating Norfolk State, 99-68, on Monday night.
“We’re always pretty good toward the end of the year because we’re not teaching our guys a play, we’re teaching guys how to play,” Williams said of his team’s offense.
“We ran three plays out of 80-something possessions,” he said. “Is that the right way to do it?
“It’s probably not the right way to do it during the first semester, but I believe it’s the right way to do it to play past spring break because we are teaching them how to play, not a play,” he said.
Marquette (2-0) scored the first six points of the game and never trailed.
Chris McEachin tied a career high with 19 points and Marcos Tamares had a career-high with 17 points for Norfolk State (0-1), from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State’s center who averaged 16.4 points last season, was held to four points on 1-of-5 shooting in 20 minutes. He didn’t score in the second half, fouling out with 12:23 left in the game.
“I don’t know what their game plan was, but I got out of the game early,” O’Quinn said. “For my team to be successful I’ve got to be on the court. That was a plus on their side.”
Junior Cadougan made a pair of free throws on the foul to extend Marquette’s lead to 65-40.
Vander Blue scored 14 points and Todd Mayo added 12 points for Marquette.
Marquette will rely heavily on Crowder and Johnson-Odom. The pair dominated on Monday night, with Crowder making 10 of 15 shots and Johnson-Odom making seven of 12 shots.
“We’re not, as a team, worried about offensive things,” Crowder said. “We can score in a lot of difference ways. We know that.”
Despite playing against O’Quinn, a 6-foot-10 senior center who was the Defensive Player of the Year in the MEAC last season, Crowder and Marquette had no problems scoring inside. The Golden Eagles outscored Norfolk State 46-24 in the paint.
Marquette spent the first half pounding the ball inside. The Golden Eagles led 40-29 at halftime after outscoring the Spartans 24-6 in the paint.
Marquette used its perimeter game in the second half, opening with a pair of 3-pointers by Johnson-Odom and Crowder to take a 46-29 lead with 19:11 left in the game.
“He can score in a lot of different ways for us,” Crowder said of Johnson-Odom. “A lot of stuff he does for us helps open up a lot of other things. Darius sets a good tone for us on the offensive end and helps us out as a team.”
The Spartans never got within single digits in the second half.
Marquette took its biggest first-half lead 37-23 on a pair of free throws by Blue with 3:03 left. Crowder had 12 points and Blue added nine in the first half.
The Spartans had 14 turnovers to only five assists in the first half, but Marquette only scored five points off the Norfolk State miscues.
Fourteen of the Spartans’ 23 shots in the first half were 3-pointers, but they only made five.
Marquette freshman Juan Anderson sat out the game, his second in a three-game suspension for accepting a free ticket to a Miller Park suite for a Milwaukee Brewers playoff game last month.
Marquette travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands to play Winthrop on Friday night in the Paradise Jam tournament.